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Treating Complex Trauma with Internal Family Systems (IFS)

Treating Complex Trauma with Internal Family Systems (IFS)

Certificate of Completion

To recieve a copy of your certificate of completion, please click on the button below, fill in the form and a copy will be emailed you. 


Revolutionize your clinical approach and help your clients heal with Internal Family Systems therapy model.

12 CPD hours

Most modes of psychotherapy believe to have “parts” is pathological. NOT in Internal Family Systems (IFS). In IFS, the idea of multiplicity of the mind is normal. Every part has a good intention, and every part has value, including the challenging and seemingly ‘stuck’ parts of trauma survivors.

In the treatment of trauma, IFS differs from traditional phase-oriented treatments. Instead of starting with building resources in clients before processing traumatic memories, it welcomes extreme symptoms from the onset, learns about their positive protective intentions and gets their permission to access the traumatic wounds.

IFS is the treatment method that all clinicians should know. Nearly all clients with a trauma history have innate abilities that help them improve their mental health if they listen to their parts. IFS does just that. IFS is an evidence-based approach for clinicians working with traumatized clients. Once you see it in action, you’ll want to incorporate it into your practice.

Clients will leave your office with skills to use outside the therapy room to help them master their emotions. This experiential training will show video demonstrations and include exercises and meditation techniques to use with your clients.

In this four-part webinar, you will have the opportunity to learn the IFS method for working with complex trauma step-by-step from highly acclaimed clinician, author and trainer, Dr. Frank Anderson.

Training outline – Total 12 hours PD

Part 1

Treating the Various Types of Trauma

  • Acute Trauma
  • PTSD
  • Complex or Relational Trauma Developmental and Attachment Traumas Extreme or Dissociative Trauma

Internal Family Systems (IFS): Permanent Healing of Emotional Wounds

  • The Origins, Goals & Assumptions
  • A non-pathologizing, accelerated approach, rooted in neuroscience
  • Different from phase-oriented treatment
  • The importance of our protective responses
  • Dealing with emotional overwhelm head-on
  • Multiplicity of the mind- we all have parts Healing at the cellular level

Managing Common Co-Morbidities

  • Depression, Panic Attacks, Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, ADD and OCD
  • A non-pathological approach
  • Comorbidities as protective responses to trauma
  • Symptoms as “parts of the self”

Part 2

Differentiating Therapeutic Issues from Biological Conditions

  • The intersection of biology and situation (“Real Mind-Body Medicine”)
  • The therapist’s role in biology- When to refer and when to work it through
  • The psychotherapy of psychopharmacology

The IFS Technique

Step 1: Identifying the Target Symptom

  • Identify the “target symptom”
  • Apply Meditation practices
  • Separating the person (self) from the symptom Learn about its intention

Step 2: Gain Access to Internal Strengths & Resources for Healing

  • Moving from defensiveness to curiosity.
  • The “Self” of the therapist-countertransference redefined
  • Access compassion to open the pathways toward healing
  • The role of empathy in healing- the benefits and the downsides

Part 3

Step 3: Finding the Fear and Function of the Symptom

  • Focusing on its fear
  • The real story behind the symptom
  • Fostering the internal relationship

Attachment Disorders and Relational Trauma

  • IFS as Internal Attachment Work
  • Attachment styles as parts of self
  • Attachment Trauma- the role of the therapist
  • Healing relational wounds of childhood
  • The client’s Self as the corrective object Working with preverbal trauma

The Neurobiology of Trauma

  • Neuroscience for therapists- what you need to know.
  • Fear circuitry and the development of PTSD
  • Extreme reactions and Autonomic Nervous System
  • Rage to Suicide and Dissociation to Shame

Dealing with the Extreme Reactions of Trauma

  • Talking directly to the symptom- Direct Access
  • Updating the part
  • Introducing the part to the Self
  • Dealing with the overwhelm- no need for building resources
  • Therapist parts – How to stay clear and calm while working with clients in extreme states

Part 4

How Neuroscience Informs Therapeutic Decisions

  • Top-down and bottom-up strategies rooted in neuroscience.
  • When it’s necessary to take over and “be the auxiliary brain” for your client.
  • When it’s best to slow things down, hand over control and work with the body
  • Sensing vs. making sense of things
  • At home strategies

Step 4: Permanent Healing of Traumatic Wounds

  • Three phases to healing: Witness the pain
  • Remove the wounded part out of the past
  • Let go of the feelings, thoughts and beliefs
  • The science behind the healing- memory reconsolidation

Integrate IFS into Your Treatment Approach

  • EMDR, DBT, Sensorimotor/SE and other methods Transformation vs adaptation or rehabilitation
  • Going beyond the cognitive (experiential therapies)
  • Integrate IFS with your current clinical approach

Course Certificate

To generate your course completion certificate, please enter your details in the form below and a copy of your certificate will be emailed to you shortly. 

About Dr Frank Anderson

Frank Anderson, MD, completed his residency and was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is both a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation and is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS model of therapy.

Dr. Anderson is a Lead Trainer at the IFS Institute with Richard Schwartz and maintains a long affiliation with, and trains for, Bessel van der Kolk’s Trauma Center. He serves as an advisor to the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP) and was the former chair and director of the Foundation for Self Leadership.

Dr. Anderson has lectured extensively on the Neurobiology of PTSD and Dissociation and wrote the chapter “Who’s Taking What” Connecting Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Internal Family Systems for Trauma in Internal Family Systems Therapy-New Dimensions. He co-authored a chapter on “What IFS Brings to Trauma Treatment in Innovations and Elaborations in Internal Family Systems Therapy” and recently co-authored Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual.

Dr. Anderson maintains a private practice in Concord, MA.

Frank has presented for Delphi twice in 2021. His webinars are both available On-Demand

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